Is your business compliant with the impending harassment legislation?
New legislation is set to place greater responsibility on organisations to protect employees against any form of harassment in the workplace.
Harassment in the workplace is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010 and if passed, the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill 2022-23 will extend the range of safeguards for employees. One of the main changes will be that employees are protected against third party harassment during the course of their employment, for example harassment committed by customers or clients. If this should happen, employers may be held liable if they fail “to take all reasonable steps to prevent the third party from doing so”, even though they didn’t commit the act themselves.
Under the Bill, employers must take all reasonable steps to prevent any harassment.
“While the Bill is still going through parliament, employers should be gearing up in readiness, and ensuring the right processes are in place,” explained Steph Marsh, Employment Solicitor.
“The benchmark is likely to be high, to encourage employers to be proactive in tackling discrimination, especially in relation to third parties. While the term “all reasonable steps” is not defined by statute, we know from existing case law what is expected of an employer and any tribunal will be looking for robust policies and evidence of steps taken to actively prevent harassment.”
Steph added: “Harassment by third parties can relate to someone over whom the employer has no direct control, with liability set to apply whether or not the employer is aware of the actions of the third party.”
“The penalty will be higher where the employer is found to have breached their duty for any sexual harassment claim, as an uplift of up to 25% of the compensation award is currently proposed to be added on.”
If you would like to speak to a member of our team in relation to the above or any employment law matter, please contact us on 01752 663295 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Our legal experts would be very happy to help.